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The Big Bow Mystery


Published August 5, 2007


LibriVox recording of The Big Bow Mystery, by Israel Zangwill. Read by Adrian Praetzellis.

It's a cold and foggy night in London. A man is horribly murdered in his bedroom, the door locked and bolted on the inside. Scotland Yard is stumped. Yet the seemingly unsolvable case has, as Inspector Grodman says, "one sublimely simple solution" that is revealed in a final chapter full of revelations and a shocking denouement. Detective fiction afficionados will be happy to learn that all the evidence to solve the case is provided. One of the earliest “locked room” mystery stories, The Big Bow Mystery is also a satire of late Victorian society. (Summary by Adrian Praetzellis)

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Download M4B (140MB)


Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Run time 5:05:34

Reviews

Reviewer: mikezane - - October 3, 2014
Subject: Good story
A well-loved working man's man is found murdered in a locked room. Only circumstantial evidence points to his best friend as the murderer, yet Inspector Wimp weaves it into a strong enough case to have the man convicted and sentenced to death. Former Inspector Grodman is convinced of the man's innocence. Which man is correct?

Recordings and voice were excellent, thank you!
Reviewer: lindaisling - - March 29, 2013
Subject: Loved it
The story was enthralling and the reader enunciated the words well and had great voice control so that it felt as though I was a fly on the wall watching all the action.
Reviewer: kenlorne - - February 3, 2011
Subject: Good book, very good reader
Content kept our attention. Very good reader
Reviewer: Arch Stanton - - April 30, 2010
Subject: Zangwill do nicely
Two detectives, one locked room mystery and much sly humour can be found in Zangwill's novel, excellently read here. Zangwill was most famous for his tales of Jewish life, many still in print, but those other books of his I have read (e.g The Celibate's Club) which are of more general interest, as this one is, are also witty and well written. Discovering this for a free download was an exra pleasure for someone who thinks the writer underrated as a humourist. There's delightful portrayal of several important characters here by the reader - notably that of Crowl, the absurd anti-faddist and athiest, my favourite. If the final solution to the mystery does not *quite* convince, it's still fun and the whole is very recommendable.
Reviewer: mcm2500 - - September 1, 2008
Subject: Very Good
I liked this book very much. Very interesting and amusing. The reader did a very nice job!
Reviewer: B143 - - August 19, 2008
Subject: Great book, great reading.
I had never heard of Israel Zangwill, but enjoyed this book thoroughly. Adrian Praetzellis' reading is of a very high standard and really helps to add colour to both setting and character. The book is very well written, managing to not only provide a genuinely intriguing mystery, but also to broadly examine the society of the time; often with a gentle, satirical humour. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: MickR - - May 15, 2008
Subject: A really good book
This reading is excellent. The reader breathes life into the various characters by his skill with accents. The book is both fascinating and funny.

Recommended
Reviewer: Philippe Horak - - April 7, 2008
Subject: A splendid reading
This is arguably the first 'locked-room' mystery novel (1892 UK; 1895 US), that is, a detective story in which the puzzle aspect is the critical element of the plot rather than being an ancillary item, as it was in Le Fanu's Uncle Silas, for example. It is also a pre-Golden-Age-of-Detection prototype in that it follows the rules of 'fair play' by providing the evidence for the solution in the form of clues imbedded in the text, supplies alternative solutions and suspects -- the classic 'red herring' approach -- and has a 'least-likely' suspect as the villain. All that it is lacking is what we would call a proper detective who out-thinks the reader.
Many thanks to Adrian Praetzellis whose performance is commendable. A highly recommended reading.
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